101 Sketchbook Ideas

101 Drawing Ideas
Often times it can be difficult brainstorming ideas for our sketchbooks. We can all agree that the more we draw, the better we’ll get. This is just one of the many reasons that keeping a sketchbook is important. But deciding what to draw in those sketchbooks can sometimes be a challenge.

I decided to do some of the brainstorming for you and create a list of 101 sketchbook ideas. The items on this list are meant to challenge you a bit, but can still be completed in a short amount of time – making them perfect subjects for any sketchbook.

Remember, we can always use the ideas that we conceive in our sketchbooks and turn them into finished drawings and paintings. A sketchbook is great place to practice, but it’s also a great place to plan and find some inspiration.

101 Drawing Ideas For Your Sketchbook

1. draw old shoes

Drawing idea #1 - An old pair of shoes

2. draw a glass of water

3. draw a pile of unfolded laundry

4. draw your non-dominant hand

5. draw a scene in a restaurant

6. draw a stack of books

7. draw a view out of a window

8. draw your art supplies

9. draw wine bottles

10. draw children’s toys

11. draw a person laying down

12. draw a person sitting in a chair

13. design a typeface

14. draw different types of trees

15. draw objects in your pocket

16. draw game pieces

17. draw a caricature of yourself

18. draw the same object drawn with different techniques (hatching, cross hatching, stippling, etc.)

19. draw your favorite pet

20. draw a copy of your favorite Master’s painting

21. draw a crumpled piece of paper

22. draw a brown paper bag

23. draw an old chair

Draw an old chair #23 - Idea for a sketchbook

24. draw a person from history in which there is no photo reference

25. draw an old person’s face

26. draw a stapler

27. draw an old radio

28. draw an old car

29. draw an old camera

30. draw a pair of glasses

31. draw an open book

32. draw a bicycle

33. draw anything made out of metal

34. draw a hammer

35. draw tree bark up close

36. draw ocean waves

37. draw a pile of rocks

38. draw a cup of pencils

39. draw hard candy

40. draw any fruit (sliced open)

41. draw any vegetable (sliced open)

42. draw a reel mower (tough one)

43. draw a pine cone

44. draw a seashell

45. draw a banana peel

46. draw an old cabin

47. draw an old factory

48. draw flowers in a vase

49. draw simple forms (cube, sphere, cylinder, etc.)

50. draw old farm equipment

51. draw a sailboat

52. draw people standing in a line

53. draw a bowl of peanuts

54. draw a bowl of nails

55. draw bushes or shrubbery

56. draw several eggs on a surface

57. draw your favorite insect

58. draw a flower up close

59. draw a thumb drive

60. draw an exotic fish

61. draw a scene from history

62. draw a feather

63. draw any detailed machine

64. draw the insides of a watch or clock

65. draw a skull

Draw a skull - Sketchbook Idea #65

66. draw an apple

67. draw a portrait of someone that is a different race from you

68. draw water coming from the faucet

69. draw a creek in the woods

70. draw a pair of socks

71. draw an object that is moving

72. draw a Cubist portrait

73. draw a view from a window

74. draw a candle in the dark

75. draw three random objects from your refrigerator

76. draw a bowl of popcorn

77. draw a set of keys

78. draw someone peeling off their skin

79. draw your hand holding an apple (or other object)

80. draw your feet

81. draw yourself as a cartoon character

82. draw a patterned cloth on a table

83. draw a wine cork

84. draw a face in profile

85. draw a candlestick

86. draw a fictional woodland creature

87. draw a close up of grass

88. draw an object three times in different lighting

89. draw a pile of jewelry

90. draw a close up of someone’s hair

91. draw a doorknob

92. draw a bird in flight

93. draw a video game controller

94. draw a pile of yarn

95. draw a stack of dinner plates

96. draw a trompe l’oeil image

97. draw hung drapery

98. draw a water sprinkler

99. draw calm water that is reflective

100. draw a person falling

Draw a person falling

101. just draw something!

More Places to Find Ideas for Drawing

So maybe you’ve scanned the list here and you don’t see anything that appeals to you. Maybe some of the subjects sound too difficult or perhaps you’ve already drawn them before and you don’t want to revisit them. (Revisiting subjects is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, when you draw a subject for the second time, you find that you’re more successful.)

Fortunately, there are other places to look for drawing inspiration other than this list you may have just stumbled upon. Here are a few more places to look for ideas and activities that may spark your creativity…

Go For A Walk

When we explore a bit and move our bodies, an interesting thing happens. Sometimes the act of moving around opens our mind up to new ideas. Perhaps it has something to do with blood flow. You may have seen how people pace back and forth while involved in a moment of deep thinking. Moving helps our minds to work. When you’re trying to come up with new ideas, try moving around a bit.

It also helps to change our environment. It’s great to get outside and take a look around. This also helps to get our creative juices flowing. I often get my best ideas when I’m out on a jog or just walking around the neighborhood.

Going for walk does two things for us. It changes our environment and also gets us moving.

Look At Art

Another great place to find ideas is by looking at art produced by other artists. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what a finished work of art will look like by simply searching for photo references. The “magic” in a finished artwork is often the result of the artistic decisions that are made during the drawing process. By looking at art produced by someone else, we can get inspired. We may begin to envision what our art would look like if we were to emulate their style or use the same medium. Sometimes this is just the extra push that we need to get started.

The internet is a wonderful resource, but looking at art in a physical book or better yet – a gallery or museum is the best option.

Listen to Music Without Lyrics

Some people are inspired by other forms of art outside the realm of visual art. Music can be a great source of inspiration and may give you some ideas for your drawings. I’ve found that music that has lyrics is often too literal and is less inspirational. But music without lyrics allows you to paint a scene in your mind and may lead to more than just a quick sketch. You may find that the right music gives you an idea that you can build on and you end up creating a work that is well beyond a simple sketch.

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Comments

101 Sketchbook Ideas — 17 Comments

  1. I was just looking for some ideas for sketchbook assignments for my students. It was like you read my mind…and this popped up. Awesome!! I wanted my students to write about their drawings as well…do you have any suggestions? I have all levels from beginners to advanced. I also wanted to know how you would divide your list of assignments according to experience levels.

  2. Matt, this was especially good for me. I used to draw and love it but that was 4 decades ago. Now as a retired 62-year-old, I’m looking at doing some of things I used to love but I live in a place (south central KY) where local art stores are about an hour away (oh voila, internet!) and drawing lessons are non-existent, except for yours online. I plan to use many of these to practice blind contour drawing (very good for an older mind)and then translate them into more. Thanks!

  3. Thanks Matt for the sketching ideas. I find that when I sketch I tend to put too much detail in to try to make the drawing perfect. I am going to limit myself to 5 min a sketch to try to improve this habit.

  4. there are several things that i have wanted to get into. photography is one of them and art is another. i have absolutely no talent. i knew someone who was very talented and she said it was just a matter of drawing all the time and getting better as she went along. it seems that you are offering exactly what i need and was looking for. i used to live in new york city where there were plenty of art schools but was not interested at the time. was working and had 2 small children. no time and no money. i still do not have money and i no longer live in new york and do not know of any art schools in my area. i think if i manage my time a little bit better with your teaching i should be able to achieve my goals. life without the internet is no life at all. you came into my life at just the right time. thank you in advance. i hope to learn and have fun.

  5. My life has been art! But things changed a few years ago. I’ve been away from drawing and art in general for 10 years because of having several little strokes. My doctor assured me that my art would come back, he said, “Don’t worry, your art will be back in 5 years or so. The brain will re-route around the strokes, it will be back!” I know he was trying to help, but when you spend a lifetime doing something creative everyday and then they tell you it will be back in 5 years, I was devastated! Well, 5 years came and went. This is year 10, I did my first drawing in July! A fawn in grass in the woods surrounded by trees. I had a blast doing the face of that fawn, and the bark of the trees! I’ve been following you for at least a year. You have been a source of inspiration! THANK YOU MARK!

  6. Well this didn’t help because I tried for 1 to draw a soul and I ended up crying my eyes out and I’m only 15

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